Ostomy Fashion Tips to Dress with Confidence and Comfort

March 29,2024 |
ostomy bag in mirror

As an ostomate, you can wear whatever you want to wear. The key is finding clothing that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and secure. There are no limitations to your fashion choices, but some people prefer to conceal their ostomy pouches. Regardless of whether you're going out on a date, heading to the beach, or hitting the gym, dressing with an ostomy shouldn't feel like a burden. To help you fine-tune your personal style, we've put together a clothing guide for people living with an ostomy.

What to Expect When Living with an Ostomy

Adjusting to life as an ostomy can be difficult at first. You might feel self-conscious or anxious, especially when mastering emptying your pouch. While it's going to take time, part of adjusting is learning new ways to express your individuality through fashion. You can wear anything you want, but if you'd prefer to draw attention away from your ostomy bag, there are many tips and tricks to help.

Finding the right pouching system is another key part of adjusting to an ostomy. Find a pouch that works for your needs, and it will drastically increase your feeling of security and confidence. Your ostomy nurse can help you explore your options after surgery.

The most important thing is to do what makes you feel confident, whether that means hiding your ostomy bag or showing it off—it's truly up to you. If you're struggling with finding ways to dress or process, consider joining an ostomy support group. The United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) has several online groups to help you find something near you. In the meantime, open up your closet and start trying on some outfits.

Female Fashion Tips for Ostomates

There are several ways to highlight your best features and feel more confident as a new ostomate. The key is ensuring your stoma is protected and finding clothes that help you feel your best. Some tips for female fashion after an ostomy procedure include the following:

Wear High-Cut Underwear

High-waisted underwear can help support your ostomy bag and conceal things underneath your clothing. Just make sure the band isn't too tight, as your pouch will need room to expand. The best option for comfort and functionality is high-cut underwear with an elastic waistband.

Use a Belly Band

Another option is to use a belly band or ostomy wrap. This is a great accompaniment to jeans, as it can help provide a little extra protection while reducing the risk of anything snagging. Feel free to try different outfits with your belly band and see how it helps boost your confidence.

Try High-Waisted Pants

High-waisted pants combine the best of high-waisted underwear and a belly band. Since they tend to sit higher up on your hips, you might find that they're more comfortable for stoma care. Plus, there are plenty of different styles in all shapes and sizes so that you can maximize the diversity of your wardrobe.

Opt for Darker Colors and Patterns

Ostomy appliances are made to be leak-resistant, but when you're first getting used to your surgery, it can be a bit nerve-wracking. To help you stay confident, wear something with darker colors or patterns. This will help conceal any potential leaks, just in case. You can also try changing your pouch more frequently to help you feel confident.

Wear Loose Fitting Shirts

Even with a belly band, tight shirts will mold to the shape of your pouching system. If you don't care to conceal your ostomy, tight shirts are fine! However, if you want to be a bit more discrete, choose something loose enough to hang away from your stomach.

Choose Skirts with a High Waistband

When you want to dress up a bit and highlight your waistline without showing off your ostomy, opt for a high-waisted skirt that flows from the hips. Be bold and try new styles, as you never know what you might like. The skirt can be any length you'd like, but many new ostomates find that patterns help conceal the pouch even more.

Get Supportive Activewear

Working out with an ostomy doesn't have to be uncomfortable. There are several leggings and yoga pants that offer higher waists with built-in support. These types of pants are great for keeping your bag secure while you're exercising—just make sure you take the proper precautions during high-intensity activities or contact sports. Athletic wear can also be worn during lazy days or when running errands. Dress in whatever you find most comfortable to boost your confidence and make the most out of your days.

Don't Be Afraid to Wear a Swimsuit

The thought of going swimming can cause a lot of anxiety for a person with an ostomy, but there are so many great styles on the market. Wearing a normal bikini is absolutely fine (and celebrated), but for those who want to cover their bags, high-waisted bikinis or one-piece bathing suits will do the trick.

Look into Ostomy Clothing

There are even specific companies dedicated to designing clothing made for ostomates! This can make shopping much easier, as their clothing has specific designs to accommodate your ostomy pouch. There are different options to help you cover, protect, or hold your pouch in place, giving you the freedom and comfort you need to navigate lifestyle changes. Don't be afraid to try some ostomy lingerie to help you feel your best in the bedroom.

Male Fashion Tips for Ostomates

After ostomy surgery, it's important to properly care for your stoma and help it heal. Afterward, you can find a style that suits your personality and comfort. Here are some tips for male fashion after ostomy surgery to help you explore options outside of baggy shirts and pants.

Choose Supportive Underwear

Just like for females, high-cut underwear with an elastic waistband can provide the necessary support for your ostomy bag. Just make sure that the fit is comfortable and allows your pouch to expand without restrictions. For men, jockey briefs can offer great support and give your bag some extra protection.

Find Fun Patterns

Express your personality through your clothing by incorporating fun patterns. Vibrant prints or discreet designs can divert attention from your pouch, adding flair to your outfit. There are tons of fun shirt designs and patterns that you can add to your wardrobe and redefine your style.

Buy Pants a Size Up

Buying jeans or other pants can be a bit complicated for a male since high-waisted options are as common. Rather than trying to pull your pants above your waistline, buy a size up. Then, wear a belt to help to keep things in place. This allows your pouch to expand and gives you a chance to adjust the tightness depending on the time of the day of the fullness of your bag.

Embrace Elasticity

You don't have to be confined to jeans or tight slacks as a man. There are several options for bottoms that have elastic waistbands. With the rise in convenience, many elastic-waistband pants offer both style and functionality, making them a great option to support and conceal your pouch.

Layer with a Jacket

Whether you're wearing a sports coat or a casual cardigan, a top layer gives you more coverage. If you prefer to wear something more casual, a hoodie or zip-up jacket is also fine. You can wear whatever makes you feel your best, as long as there's no dress code.

Wear Suspenders Instead of Belts

If you find that belts are a bit too restrictive, substitute them with some suspenders. Suspenders are a fun way to express yourself and ensure that your pants stay up throughout the day. Plus, you can layer them underneath a shirt or wear them as a statement item—whichever you prefer.

Consider High-Waisted Swimwear

There are also some options for male swimwear that can accommodate your pouch. However, if you don't mind showing it off, going out in regular swimming trunks is okay, too. The key is finding something you're comfortable with so you can embrace your confidence and enjoy yourself during a day on the beach.

Byram is committed to doing our part to improve the lives of those living with ostomies through convenient product delivery and a diverse ostomy product catalog. We work with Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies to help you get the most out of your healthcare plan. Contact us today to get started with your order or if you have any questions about our products.